Sexual attack sets off hunt in Woodside

Sketch courtesy NYPD
By Rebecca Henely

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) handed out fliers at the entrance to the 61st Street-Woodside subway station last Thursday urging residents to help locate a man who tried to sexually assault a woman in the neighborhood.

“We will find you and arrest you and put you in jail for your crimes against women,” Van Bramer said.

The NYPD revealed Sept. 11 that a man had tried to threaten a woman into a “criminal sex act” Aug. 25. Van Bramer said this incident occurred on 61st Street between 39th and Roosevelt avenues.

The perpetrator rode up to the woman while riding a BMX bicycle at 3:30 a.m. and hit her in the face multiple times, police said. The man said he would only stop if she performed a sex act on him, police said. The woman ran away, after which the suspect rode off on his bicycle, police said.

The perpetrator is described as a 20-to-25-year-old Hispanic man with black hair, brown eyes and a thin build, police said. He is about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and about 155 to 170 pounds, police said.

Authorities said the woman needed to go to Elmhurst Hospital Center for a broken nose after the attack.

In response to the assault, Van Bramer, Gianaris and Community Board 2 District Manager Debra Markell handed out 2,000 fliers during early morning rush hour at the busy No. 7 train and Long Island Rail Road station with a police sketch of the perpetrator and a description of the attack.

“We’re hitting as many Woodsiders as you can possibly reach,” Van Bramer said.

The distribution was the latest of several Van Bramer has held in response to sexual assaults occurring within his district. In April, Van Bramer and other elected officials had gone to the 46th Street-Bliss Street No. 7 train station after a man jumped on and sexually assaulted a woman in Sunnyside.

In October 2011, he and others had gone to the same train station after a pervert riding a bicycle groped five women and a 12-year-old girl.

“These are safe neighborhoods, but even one of these incidents is one too many,” Gianaris said.

No arrests have been made after any of these crimes.

Markell urged women to be mindful of their surroundings.

“People need to be aware and we need to have a lot of enforcement,” she said.

Those with information about the crime can contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers. They can be reached by phone at 1-800-577-TIPS, via its website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or through texting 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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